New life for a listed industrial building, preserving the structure to continue the memory through innovation.


Almacen 5 Lafarge

location: Villaluenga de la Sagra, Toledo (Spain) Fabrica de Cemento Lafarge
client: Lafarge Espana; promoted by COAM Madrid, Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Castilla La Mancha, Catedra Fisac
status: competition, 2013  
collaborators: Alessandro Molesini, Anahita Asgharpour
program: reconversion of the old Almacen 5 of the cement factory Lafarge as exhibition spaces, conference rooms, spaces for laboratories, workshops and training centre. Building listed by DOCOMOMO Iberico as historical industrial heritage


Memory and innovation: a reversible intervention The Warehouse of Heavy of the cement factory LAFARGE is a monument of industrial archeology and an emblematic building that deserves to be improved by introducing a new life within its spaces. The inclusion of Warehouse 5 in the list of buildings of historical value testimony of the Iberian DOCOMOMO raises the question of the delicate balance between innovation and memory, between conservation and development. This is the central point of the project: the reorganization and modernization of the interior space, the preservation of the structure, the space and the presence of material of the atmosphere and the construction of industrial origin become the basis for the creation of new life in and around the Warehouse 5. What is done above and inside the building has been designed as a light and reversible and instantly recognizable intervention.

A building-manifest The Basilica of Palladio in Vicenza or the Palazzo della Ragione of Padua on the city as the great urban presences and the superstructure. The roof that rises above the base section of both becomes a large article that closely relates the internal space and the external perception of the building, binding them inextricably in the form of a typological or unique classroom space, the form German of Halle. The shape of a basilica that comes amplifies the interior space and transforms the exterior image of the building into an iconic form recognizable instantly from a great distance. At the same time, the architectural form of the lid coincides with the structural form that rests directly on the walls of the basement. The Basilica of Vicenza or the Palazzo della Ragione represent the timeless architectural expression of majestic simplicity: both continue for centuries to represent a place of identification in the city and a space open to transformation. Over time, the different uses of these buildings have not changed the grandiose interior space that is independent of the content itself. Lafarge has to be able to identify with a building that is innovative and symbolic of research in the field of construction and architecture: the building that is in the world must first meet the goal of an innovative and iconic construction. We want to transform 5-poster Warehouse into a building, a building that is an iconic example of the Lafarge technical and architectural systems. Externally, we want to transform into a single large flexible space open to any type of transformation, on the outside in an emblematic and visible from a great distance from the road and immediately recognizable by its simplicity and innovative form. The new wide coverage is achieved in the continuation of the existing perimeter walls, while maintaining the knowledge of the parties, the reversibility and independence of the existing structures with respect to the new one: therefore, the great coverage of the vaulted structure was created as an autonomous structure is visual and constructive. In iconic spatial terms and instead of internal and external perception is unitary.

The space of possibilities The inner central space must become a "cathedral" of the image and of technological research, a place of experimentation and staging of Lafarge's research into products for the construction and architecture industry. The large uncluttered space is open to any type of processing and temporary configuration. The presence of large screens that show Lafarge and its history - a kind of dynamic company museum - can live with the installation of large specimens, parts or elements of construction systems, large format images, architectural models, technical drawings and any other something that can help spread the knowledge of support systems to Lafarge architecture and the construction industry. The great central hall becomes a canopy space, a basilica of knowledge, a showcase for knowledge and technological innovations. The light that rains from all directions makes this space change depending on natural light and the passage of time. The majestic interior vacuum space is designed to accommodate the installations of architects, artists and anyone who can represent the innovation of the Lafarge brand in the eyes of the world. We do not believe that a simple and static screen of the products, but in a showcase of the technical and architectural treasures, a place to know and deepen the enormous potential of Lafarge products and their technical applications. Imagine that Lafarge can invite architects of world renown, or are known for their innovative research to conceive temporary exhibitions designed specifically for this space. For this reason, we leave the space as free as possible of obstacles and the will to change. Side spaces are designed on the basis of activities for visitors and for the training center Lafarge intends initiates. The ground floor is in place for a conference room for 150 seats on the perimeter defined by a sound absorbing panels, which also functions as a support for temporary exhibitions.

Technological research icon The materiality and abstraction, solidity and lightness, durability and flexibility of application: Lafarge and the characteristics of the products of the research carried out in the most innovative buildings are launched not only inside the building through temporary exhibitions and the exhibition of large samples and photos of the most important achievements, but also and above all through the building itself with the new great coverage between iconic and symbolic form. The great coverage, innovative form from the point of view of the technique, structural and architectural, better expresses the image of Lafarge research in the world of construction and architecture. The shell of the new volume of the cover is constituted by a double skin, of which the perforated exterior has the function of mitigating the heat, while allowing sunlight to pass through, while the interior has the function of protecting of rain and wind allowing the same percentage of light penetration from the outside. In the intermediate space between the two surfaces, the structure of the support cover consisting of thin reinforced concrete ribs is inserted. Both the interior and the exterior surface are made of reinforced concrete panels with high performance fibers (BFUP) ductals. The outer covering presence alternates between full and empty rectangular shape, the cover replicates the exterior design, but in the empty spaces are inserted, in the process of pouring transparent elements, translucent BFUP ductals. The BFUP ductal panels and the ribbed structure have reduced thickness due to the form factor, which ensures rigidity, the finish is smooth and the cement is pigmented so as to present a visual continuity with the base section of the construction. In the flat part in the cover of the outer casing is made in the same way as the inner cover, while the inner casing corresponding to this part is equipped with elements that open automatically in the heating period to ensure an effect of the Natural ventilation.